It may seem like all of Europe is a bargain thanks to the declining euro, but some countries are still significantly cheaper than others—and Portugal is among the best values across the pond. In Porto, the country’s second-largest city, visitors can eat fresh-off-the-boat seafood in sidewalk cafes and swill bottles of port for a fraction of the price you’d pay in major European metropolises.
Porto has its share of trendy hotels that cost $100-plus per night, but by renting an apartment, you can experience life in the heart of the historic city for right around $50 a night.
Like most cities in Europe, Airbnb has already gained a strong foothold in Porto, and it truly is a renter’s market. It’s not difficult to find a spacious, stylish apartment in a great location for a price that seems too good to be true. (If you’re not sure, check out the reviews.) Forget the days of bunking up in a grimy hostel, and consider checking in to one of these Airbnbs in Porto.
Note to reader: Descriptions correspond to the images just above text. And, please make sure to double-check prices and details before booking your stay.
This roomy space (above) sits right across from Praça do Infante, home of the Palácio da Bolsa, also known as the Stock Exchange Palace. Floor-to-ceiling doors and windows flood the main living area with light, and a wrought-iron balcony looks out over the street below. The kitchen and bath seem fairly basic, but there are two bedrooms with space for six guests. A recent guest raves about the restaurant downstairs, which serves a “dish of the day” for under five euros. At around $50 per night for this apartment, you should have plenty of cash to spare.
The sunny terrace is the star of this little modern studio, situated five minutes from the Trindade Metro Station. The kitchenette is equipped with a mini fridge and espresso machine (with coffee included), and there’s a sofa bed for extra guests. The rental agency, which owns dozens of properties in the area, offers a free app to guests along with concierge service and a luggage room. The current cost is $53/night.
Mario’s thoughtfully decorated flat looks out over Porto’s red clay rooftops. Inside, the vibe is minimalistic and serene—the perfect place to relax after a gut-busting Francesinha lunch (that would be a sandwich packed with ham, sausage and steak topped with melted cheese and tomato and beer sauce). There’s no kitchen, but breakfast is provided, and it’s just a short walk from Avenida dos Aliados, a bustling street with plenty of shops and restaurants.
Nearly 100 five-star reviews say everything you need to know about this elegant apartment in a 19th century building. Located about 10 minutes from the city center in an artsy district, the space has all the necessities and some nice extras, including a kitchen, access to laundry, TV, free parking and even welcome snacks and drinks. Guests rave about the helpful owner, a local art teacher.
Take a spiral staircase to this charming apartment in the city’s historic heart, La Ribeira, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heavy wooden shutters on the windows and stone walls reflect the age of the building, while an updated kitchen and bath make the stay a comfortable one. Several past guests mentioned the noise from nightlife in the evenings—which could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you travel.
This bright and basic first-floor spot overlooks a busy pedestrian street. It’s located near the famous bookstore Livraria Lello & Irmão, where J.K. Rowling is said to have worked—and drawn inspiration for Hogwarts—when she lived in Porto.
This central apartment is at the upper end of our budget—$67/night—but just look at that terrace, which boasts a dramatic view over the city and the Douro River (and has a shower too, just in case). Inside, the space is cozy and contemporary, with a bed, foldout couch, and a fully equipped kitchenette.
Karolina’s apartment near the Douro River has a charming little balcony with a garden view. The space itself has modern and stylish furnishings and amenities, and it’s an easy walk to the peaceful Jardim de Sao Lazaro.
Stay in a building that was nominated for the ArchDaily Building of the Year in 2015. The Cristal Apartment is a fifth-floor duplex just a few minutes from Porto’s Cristal Palace and the Soares do Reis National Museum. Every square inch of space is put to good use, with a cozy loft upstairs, a modern and efficient kitchen, a little dining nook, and a siting area with a fold-out couch. The balcony looks out over the city and the Cristal Palace gardens. Guests praise the accommodating host, who has plenty of suggestions for things to do nearby.
Sharing a building with seven other rentals, this second-floor apartment looks directly out onto the city’s ancient winding streets. The space is simply decorated, and guests are typically greeted with a bottle of port. It’s an easy walk to classic Porto eateries like the art deco Café Majestic.
Lead photo by Rob van Esch
Erica Jackson Curran
is a former alt-weekly editor turned moonlight freelancer based in Richmond, Virginia. She likes fancy cocktails and red lipstick, and she’s currently planning a fall trip to Paris and Portugal.